RED APPLE BEEF BOURGUIGNON

Beef Bourguignon is on everyone's bucket list of comfort foods. Fall-apart beef in a meaty red wine sauce infused with bacon, accented with Red Apple dark balsamic and layered with mushrooms, potatoes and carrots. Its lengthy cooking time turns these humble ingredients into a truly special dinner, a French classic that's worthy of mastering. 

SERVES: 6

INGEDIENTS: 

1/2 lb extra-thick bacon, cut in 1/4-inch pieces
2 lb stewing beef cut in 2-inch cubes
2 tbsp robust extra virgin olive oil
All purpose flour for sprinkling, as thickening agent
1 tsp Kosher salt 
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
5 large carrots, peeled and sliced in 1-inch horizontal coins
2 celery stalks, trimmed, roughly chopped
2 large onions, peeled, roughly chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup of a good, dry red wine
2 cups button mushrooms, stem trimmed and cut in half lengthwise
3 large Yukon gold potatoes, cleaned and cut in 1-inch pieces
1-28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes, hand crushed
1/4 cup Red Apple dark balsamic*
1 cup quality beef stock
4 peeled and crushed garlic cloves, no need to dice
1 tsp thyme

*If you wish to avoid adding red wine, you can substitute with an extra half cup of Red Apple dark balsamic plus an additional 1/2 cup beef stock.

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a Dutch oven, on medium heat, fry bacon until crispy. Remove, set aside on paper towel, keeping bacon grease in pot. Rinse beef well and completely dry with paper towel. Add olive oil to pot with bacon grease, then place half the beef in single layer. Sprinkle 1/2 of flour on beef. Brown on all sides. Repeat with remaining beef. Remove beef and set aside. Place mushrooms in pot and stir until browned. Then add carrots, celery, onions, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper in pot and cook for 5 minutes until onions are translucent. Add tomato paste and stir until bright red. If necessary use a bit of red wine to deglaze the pot, scraping bits off the bottom. Then place beef, bacon, potatoes, tomatoes in pot. Stir to combine. Pour in red wine, balsamic and broth to cover meat and vegetables. 

Reduce oven to 325 degrees. Cook in Dutch oven, covered, for 2-1/2 hours.